Heather Knight says unsold England stars remain ‘very valuable’ despite WPL snub

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Heather Knight insists everyone in England’s T20 World Cup squad remains “very valuable”, irrespective of whether they landed a money-spinning deal in the inaugural Women’s Premier League auction.

Nat Sciver-Brunt fetched the joint-highest price for an overseas player after being sold for 3.2 crore (about £320,000) to Mumbai Indians, instantly making her one of Britain’s highest-paid sportswomen.

Sophie Ecclestone was also the recipient of a six-figure contract, joining England head coach Jon Lewis at Up Warriorz, who bought the world’s top-ranked T20 bowler for 1.8 crore (around £180,000).

Knight, Sophia Dunkley, Alice Capsey, Lauren Bell and Issy Wong were picked up too as seven of the 27 English entrants were signed, but the experienced trio of Katherine Sciver-Brunt, Amy Jones and Danni Wyatt were among those unsold.

Knight revealed England would rally round anyone who needed support after being overlooked but was adamant their worth in the squad was unaffected as their mission for a T20 World Cup title continued in South Africa on Monday.


“I think the whole team will make sure individuals are looked after, that’s really important and what we’re about as a side,” the England captain said after a four-wicket win over Ireland in Paarl.

“The value of players to the England team doesn’t change because they haven’t been picked up, they’re still very valuable, everyone in the squad is hugely valuable to us trying to win a World Cup.

“They’ll certainly be looked after and given space if needed to obviously deal with anything and try and refocus and get back on it.”

Capsey was snapped up by Delhi Capitals for roughly £75,000, Dunkley got a £60,000 payday from Gujarat Giants while Bell and Wong will earn £30,000 apiece for UP Warriorz and Mumbai Indians respectively.

Knight initially went unsold but Royal Challengers Bangalore paid her base price of £40,000 – still higher than the top band of contracts in The Hundred women’s competition of £31,250 last year.

It was another landmark day for women’s cricket ahead of a tournament that is scheduled to run from March 4-26, with 22 matches in total in a five-team league.

“I’m really excited, I think being involved in the inaugural one will be really special,” Knight added. “It’ll be very new, very different.

“Any time you get to play overseas in a franchise competition, you get to work with different coaches, play with different players, play in different conditions.

“That’s a huge way to learn and to grow your game. I think it’s a huge positive and I’m looking forward to it.”

Overseas spots were at a premium but Australia’s Ashleigh Gardner was bought by Gujarat Giants for the same price as Nat Sciver-Brunt, with teams having a budget of £1.2million to spend on a squad of between 15 and 18 players.


But New Zealand’s Suzie Bates and Chamari Athapaththu and Sune Luus, captains of Sri Lanka and South Africa respectively, went unsold.

India’s Smriti Mandhana was the first to go under the hammer and attracted the most expensive buy, with Royal Challengers Bangalore paying around £340,000 for her services.

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